For most families the search for a new home includes a large open concept space that combines kitchen and family room into one. This has been a relatively new design trend over the last few decades, but one that has been embraced by the architectural community. Newly constructed homes often have open concept family rooms already built, but they can feel hollow and lack the warmth that we all crave when finally finding our home.
This is where you can let your design take flight with your family room decorating to create a space that checks all the boxes, by choosing carefully your theme then picking your colors and furniture that reflect your taste. Older homes may have rooms subdivided, or a pre-existing basement to be transformed, and then family room remodel ideas are needed. Always check with older homes if removing walls can provide the family room addition space or open concept you desire. Before you unleash your creativity though, it pays to take a few minutes to reflect on three key questions.
Family Room Design
First, what will your family room be used for? How will you be using your family room space over at least the next two years? Sometimes this is not as straightforward a question as it seems with the digital age changing how we all work and play. Will this be a primary space for entertaining friends and family; the main children’s play area or place for their homework; need to double as a home office or guest room; or simply a space where the family can gather to watch that movie complete with hot buttered popcorn? Sometimes family rooms need to be “all the above” and the design needs to have versatility and durability.
Next question is to really assess how much you can spend on this design; keep in mind that making the budget is essential to success and always have contingency funds built in for the inevitable “unexpected.” Particularly if the family room design of your dreams is including a remodel! Finally make sure that you start to build a design board. This doesn’t have to be a professional endeavor that adds to time and costs; a simple notebook with pages and photos of the basic colors and themes that have caught your eye is perfectly acceptable.
Then make sure you share your ideas with your partner if this family room is a couple’s adventure to have their input! There is nothing worse than to dedicate your precious time and finances to end up with something that your other half hates. Communication is key if you simply state you like a country theme, your other half may be imagining open beams and moose heads, where you have a tasteful chintz in mind from the country living in architectural digest!
Find a style you love, common popular ones industrial chic, Parisian, family friendly, and look at the images generated by your search engine. Normally you can capture a theme that runs through all the images, whether it is metallics, sparsity of design, or pattern. Your answers to these three important questions are going to be the drivers for your family room design.
Color and Furnishings
Once you have your theme chosen, and mutually agreed on (!), it is time to build your design! Neutrals always are appealing for paint on the walls and major furnishings, especially if you envision having to resell quickly.
However, for any house that you are calling home for more than a few years, the careful use of colored paint can be a relatively cheap and fast way to add warmth and character. Highlight areas with playful hues that can steer your home away from bland.
Choose a focal wall to paint with hues that capture your theme – blues and greens for a beach or garden theme, yellow if you want a tropical look, and there is nothing like red and other jewel tone colors to make a bold and commanding statement if you are looking for drama. Paint is not the only idea for a quick colorful transformation of family room walls.
A trend that is captivating the imagination of more and more designers is wallpaper. Wallpaper is having something of a renaissance since it’s heyday in the 1970s and ranges in prices from simple inexpensive textures to exquisite hand-painted works of art. If you fall in love with a paper outside your budget, a good idea is to add it to a small area.
Many family rooms have built in shelves and wallpaper can bring a refreshing back drop to these. If both paint and wallpaper are out of the question, color can always be added by artwork, area rugs, pillows, throws, and furniture.
Family Room Remodel Ideas
Furniture may be your biggest cost and careful thought needs to put to the fabric and use. Darker, easy to wash fabrics are always helpful if you have young children. If your home will become the extended family gathering place, then a sleeper sofa might fit the bill, but this is unnecessary if there will only be an occasional visitor.
Use ottomans and chairs to help make larger spaces more inviting, but in small spaces it is important to scale down your pieces and make sure there is enough space for everyone to move around.
Small spaces are where careful choice of furnishings that have a dual use become important; for example, a window bench that has storage in it or a coffee table that can be used to tuck away toys.